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In Monaco, the wedding countdown has well and truly begun. The festivities get underway on Thursday evening with a rock concert at the Louis the Second football stadium in the principality.

With a nod to his American heritage, Prince Albert has chosen the legendary Californian band The Eagles to headline. They will be supported by Jason Hartman – a regular feature in the charts in South Africa.

Friday, and the focus turns to the Palace on the Rock. At 5 o’clock, the couple and their families will be joined by dignitaries in the Throne Room for the civil marriage ceremony.

Afterwards, the couple will appear in public on the palace balcony. It was at this stage of her wedding in 1956 that Princess Grace joked that she was “half-married”.

Afterwards, the traditional party for Monegasques will be held in the Square in front of the palace.

After the princely party has returned to the Palace for a short rest, everyone will head down to the Port for a concert by Jean Michel Jarre.

Saturday dawns and the three days of festivities culminate in the solemnity of the religious ceremony.

In a departure from tradition, the Archbishop of Monaco will oversee proceedings in the courtyard of the Palace and not in the nearby Cathedral.

The couple will travel to the nearby chapel of St Devote – Monaco’s patron saint – where the now-Princess Charlene will leave her wedding bouquet on the altar.

In the evening there will be a gala dinner at the Opera Garnier in Monte Carlo, followed by a spectacular firework display over Monaco’s iconic port.

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